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FAQ for School Consolidations

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Why is Jeffco Public Schools consolidating schools?

To provide extraordinary learning experiences for every student and extraordinary professional experiences for every staff member in a declining enrollment environment, Jeffco must concentrate its resources into fewer schools. Ensuring that Jeffco provides a world-class education that prepares all Jeffco students for bright and successful futures locally and globally requires both building on our many bright spots and confronting our challenges through the lens of opportunity.

  • Jeffco has seats for 96,000 students and serves 69,000, leaving approximately 27,000 empty seats.
  • Lagging birth rates and unaffordable housing have been steadily shifting demographics and affecting enrollment in Jeffco Public Schools since 2001. Add to that, that during the last three years, Jeffco’s enrollment declined by 5,000 students.
  • Colorado school districts are funded based on how many students they have. While funding is supposed to follow each student to their school, in Jeffco our smallest schools cannot survive on per-pupil funding alone. In order to sustain small schools, Jeffco pulls funding from larger schools. Our investment in an individual students’ education ranges from $13,000 to over $19,000—we are paying the most to educate students in our smallest schools and the funding isn’t for better programming or more services. The funding is simply to supplement the school at the most foundational level so that it can survive.
  • Jeffco’s smallest schools are often unable to provide one classroom per grade level, which results in split grade-level classrooms (e.g., a combined third and fourth grade classroom). And where there is one classroom for a grade level it may be very full because enrollment cannot support two classrooms for that grade. This also means that educators in small schools do not have a colleague to collaborate with around lesson planning and instructional strategies.
  • Jeffco’s smallest schools have fewer full-time service, activities, and clubs than larger schools and may not offer before and after school care because there are too few students to support the program.

What are the benefits of school consolidation?

The vision for school consolidation is that two small schools can become one, more robustly resourced school that will do the following:

  • Offer the services, activities, and peer interactions that will provide extraordinary student experience
  • Operate with a foundational staffing model by 2025 (full time Art Music, and PE Teachers, more resources for students, more full-time staff, etc.)
  • Have two teachers per grade level to provide extraordinary educator experiences
  • Execute an academic success plan, based on the unique attributes of both school communities and aligned with Jeffco Thrives 2025 to ensure a culture of instructional excellence in the new boundary school. This work will start in 2022/23 as schools prepare to set students up for success based on current/future curriculum

What is the criteria for Phase I of Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools?

Specific criteria was shared publicly on August 25th at the Board of Education Meeting. Per Board Policy FCB, District staff are in the process of generating recommendations. Enrollment, building utilization, and proximity of other schools that can serve students are leading factors under consideration. The amount of bond funding invested in individual schools is not being considered in consolidation decisions.

The District has previously shared that it would be identifying schools in two ways:

  • Urgent Priority: The school is unsustainable due to severe under enrollment
  • High Priority, Runway Partnerships: The school is becoming unsustainable due to severe under enrollment. To increase long-term sustainability, two school communities will consolidate.

Jeffco is currently only focusing on consolidation recommendations and decisions for Jeffco district-managed elementary schools (K-2, K-5, and K-6).

When were the consolidation decisions made?

District staff recommendations were shared with the Board of Education on August 25, 2022. The Board voted in favor of the staff recommendation on November 10, 2022. Decisions will be effective for the 2023–24 school year and the 2024–25 school year.

How are students and staff being supported at impacted schools?

This is an incredibly emotional and difficult time. Each school has a plan in place to provide social-emotional support to staff and students on 11/11 and the week of 11/14 supported by the District’s Employee Assistance Program and Student Services Crisis teams. Plans are customized to each school’s needs

What happens if the school my student attends is listed for closure and consolidation with a nearby school?

All schools will remain open for the 2022-23 school year. The incredibly dedicated staff and principals at schools named for closure and consolidation will keep the focus on students, their experiences, and their learning throughout this school year.

In most cases, consolidations contemplate moving all students from one school to another, allowing them to remain with their peers in their existing articulation area in the 2023-24 school year. The District will support families on school selection next school year in advance of EnrollJeffco, which opens on December 6, 2022.

What happens if the school my student attends is named as the new boundary school for a nearby school that is closing?

School communities will be supported as they come together and begin planning to become one strong and sustainable school community. The focus will be on the District’s value of Belonging. In Jeffco, we cultivate environments where all students, staff, families, and members of our community are safe, accepted, respected, included, encouraged by others, and feel that their voices and perspectives are valued. New boundary school leaders are committed to creating opportunities to ensure that students and families whose buildings are closing feel that they belong.

What will happen to the principal, teachers, and staff at schools that are closing and consolidating with another school?

Jeffco is committed to supporting administrators, educators, and classified staff in exploring employment options both at the new boundary school and throughout the district for the 2023-24 school year.

As a result of consolidations, we anticipate that the new neighborhood school for the area will require more certified and classified staff to serve incoming students; your child’s teacher will have the opportunity to be matched with available positions at the new neighborhood school and other available positions throughout Jeffco for the 2023-24 school year.

Your school principal will continue to lead your school for the remainder of the school year and will be considered for school leadership opportunities in Jeffco for the 2023-24 school year.

If my student’s school is closing, how will my student get to their new school?

Eligibility for transportation in 2023-24 will be determined by the distance students live from the school (one mile for elementary students) and safety concerns unique to their attendance area (policy EEA). Elementary students who live more than one mile from their boundary school are eligible for transportation. Students who live one mile or less from their school may be eligible if a safety consideration applies (e.g., 4 lane roads and HWY, RR crossing, 2 lane road with a speed limit above 40 MPH, road that the supervisors determine unsafe to cross, etc.)

Transportation routes for the 2023-24 school year will be determined just prior to the start of school, as normal operational practice. If you have specific questions about transportation eligibility and operations please connect with your Jeffco Transportation Contacts.

Will impacted families have to pay bus fees?

Bus fees will NOT be assessed for Jeffco families in the 2023-24 school year.

What support will be provided to impacted families to navigate the 2023-24 EnrollJeffco process?

There is a designated support person in place for each impacted school to help families navigate the Round 1 EnrollJeffco choice process, which will open on December 6, 2022 and close January 13, 2023. Families will be assisted in enrolling in the school of their choice. If you prefer for your student to attend a school other than the new neighborhood school in 2023-24, you may choose that through the Round 1 EnrollJeffco choice process.

Will families have an opportunity to visit the new boundary school prior to the 2023-24 school year?

Your student will have opportunities to visit their new neighborhood school, and meet staff and classmates to begin creating a sense of belonging and community at their new school. Your student’s principal will be in touch about these opportunities throughout the remainder of the 2022-23 school year.

What are you going to do with the facility once a school closes?

14 properties will cease to operate as schools at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Campbell will be converted to an ECE center and Bergen Meadow will cease operations at the end of the 2023-24 school year. Jeffco may sell, lease, or continue to use buildings for various purposes including, but not limited to:

  • New location for existing district schools or programs (e.g., Fletcher Miller, Option Schools, Alternative Education Campuses, preschool)
  • Family resource centers
  • Newly developed workforce housing
  • City managed rec centers
  • Program space for nonprofits or childcare providers

The District will take time to understand what will best serve the interests of the District and communities as a whole, which includes an analysis of systemic needs and feedback from stakeholders. Decisions about building use will be made after conducting a process that includes public consideration of the district’s options. 

Are you considering consolidating secondary schools?

Jeffco will begin considering secondary schools (including K-8 schools) in Phase II of Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools, which begins in January 2023. Consolidation criteria for Phase II will be different from consolidation criteria set for elementary schools in Phase I.

How will school consolidations affect school boundaries and articulation areas?

Jeffco will begin considering changes for school boundaries and articulation areas district wide in Phase II of Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools, which begins in January 2023.

What do I do if the current school my student attends has a PK but the recommended receiving school does not have a listed PK site?

Of the 34 pre-k classrooms in schools recommended for consolidation, we will be able to place or maintain all but 14 in new boundary schools. The remaining 14 classrooms can be placed in nearby schools to maintain the total number of pre-k seats currently offered.

NEW PRE-K SITES FOR 2023-24

  • Maple Grove
  • Powderhorn
  • Sierra
  • Weber

SITES THAT WILL KEEP OR EXPAND EXISTING PRE-K CLASSROOMS IN 2023-24

  • Campbell (ECE Center)
  • Eiber
  • Foothills
  • Hutchinson
  • Kendallvue
  • Lumberg
  • Ryan
  • Semper
  • Stevens

Do current enrollment numbers include center program and preschool students?

Enrollment and building utilization numbers on the FCB dashboard include Center Program students and the number of students in Center Programs are also called out separately on the dashboard. Because preschool is not part of an elementary school’s funded count (it is funded differently), preschool students are listed on but separate from a school’s K-2, K-5, or K-6 enrollment on the FCB dashboard. However, as stated on the FCB dashboard, if a school has a preschool program it is factored into the building utilization percentage on the FCB dashboard.

Once a school closes, will all of the students at the school (boundary and choice) have a place at the new neighborhood school?

Yes. Every student (boundary and choice-in) at a closing school will have a secured spot at the new neighborhood school. If no action is taken by a family during EnrollJeffco, students in the closing school will automatically rollover to the new neighborhood school.

Will impacted families have a priority in the EnrollJeffco process if they chose a school outside of neighborhood school?

Yes. All students (K-4 or K-5) attending a school that will be closing will receive a priority for all district-managed elementary schools above the “Students who reside in Jefferson County” priority during Round 1 and Round 2.

[Special Education] If my student’s school is closing, what will happen to school-based Center Programs?

Your student’s continued success is crucially important to the District. Jeffco’s practice is not to have multiple types of center programs in one school. Five of the center programs will be moved to receiving schools:

  • Arvada: Peck SSN → Secrest 
  • Dakota Ridge: Colorow AN → Powderhorn 
  • Standley Lake: Sheridan Green GT → Ryan 
  • Wheat Ridge: Wilmore Davis ASD → Stevens 
  • Wheat Ridge: Kullerstrand AN → Prospect Valley

Six of the center programs will be relocated:

  • Emory AN Program → Rose Stein
  •  Thomson AN Program → Hackberry Hill if needed
  • Campbell SSN Program → Vanderhoof
  • Green Mountain SSN Program → Belmar
  • Glennon AN Program → Hutchinson
  • Vivian DHH Program → Maple Grove

[Special Education] If the current center program my child is placed at is moving, can they now go to a center that is closer to our home? Or, what if we want to attend a school other than where our student is placed?

Someone from the Special Education Department will be reaching out to families before Thanksgiving Break to share the new placement location. We will work together to honor family input on location as much as possible

[Special Education] Will there be an opportunity to tour and meet the staff at the recommended facility?

School sites will schedule open house events for all potential new families.

[Special Education] When will we be communicated with about where our student will be placed?

Families will receive a call from a Special Education Assistant Director or Director prior to Thanksgiving Break to discuss student support and placement.

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